Reclaiming Words: Courage

Courage (n.): Mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear or difficulty; the ability to control your fear in a dangerous or difficult situation. 

Courage (n.): Mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear or difficulty; the ability to control your fear in a dangerous or difficult situation. 

The use of the word courage declined from the 1800 to its lowest in the 1980s, but has been gaining in popularity again since the 2000s. Poet David Whyte says courage “is a word that tempts us to think outwardly, to run bravely against opposing fire, to do something under besieging circumstances, and perhaps, above all, to be seen to be doing it in public, to show courage: to be celebrated in story, rewarded with medals, given the accolade. But to look to its linguistic origins is to look in a more interior direction.”  The word courage, in fact, comes from the old Norman French word coeur, meaning heart. 

Origin and etymology of courage: c. 1300, corage, denoting the heart, as the seat of feelings. -from french, courage, cœur - from latin cor (heart). In Middle English, the word was used broadly for "what is in one's mind or thoughts," hence "bravery," but also "wrath, pride, confidence, lustiness," or any sort of inclination. 

[Sources: Merriam Webster, Cambridge Dictionary, Etymonline]

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